01/29/2010 1:00AM

Sacred Kingdom has a win on Centenary Sprint Cup course


Sacred Kingdom, the co-high-rated sprinter last year on the World Thoroughbred Rankings, will attempt to continue his winning ways at Sha Tin on Sunday when he starts as the strong favorite in the $579,000 Centenary Sprint Cup, a straight five-furlong dash with domestic Hong Kong Group 1 cachet.

The Ricky Yiu-trained 6-year-old is fresh from a victory in the six-furlong Hong Kong Sprint on Dec. 13, an effort that earned him a World Thoroughbred Ranking rating of 122, the same as that of the Australian-based Royal Ascot sprint winner Scenic Blast, who finished last in the Hong Kong Sprint and is now in training with John Shirreffs. Joining Sacred Kingdom in the Centenary will be the three who followed him home in the Hong Kong Sprint: One World, Joy and Fun, and Green Birdie. Sacred Kingdom is the only one of the quartet who has won over the course and distance, that when taking a Group 3 handicap a year ago. He was also second to Absolute Champion in this race in 2008.

Brent Prebble will take his usual place aboard Sacred Kingdom, while Johann Victoire, one of the many talented young riders to emerge in France in recent years, replaces Brett Doyle aboard Joy and Fun.

Also on Sunday, Good Ba Ba faces a field very similar to the one he beat in the Hong Kong Mile in the $1 million Stewards Cup.

Good Ba Ba was also rated 122 on the World Thoroughbred Rankings thanks to his third consecutive triumph in the Hong Kong Mile on Dec. 13. Trained by Derek Cruz, Good Ba Ba will break widest of all from post 12 in the one-turn mile and will be tested by Fellowship and Egyptian Ra, who were third and fourth in the Hong Kong Mile. Since then, Egyptian Ra has won the seven-furlong Chinese Club Challenge Handicap.

Olivier Doleuze will ride Good Ba Ba, who is expected to go off at near odds-on. Christophe Soumillon, fresh from a pair of victories at Meydan on Thursday night, has the call on Egyptian Ra.